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Syndicated fare shakes off post-sweeps blues

It was a Good Friday and a good holiday week for most syndicated strips, which rebounded from a prolonged post-February sweeps ratings depression in the measurement period ended April 3.

But several recently introduced primetime weekly series were crucified during the week in the Nielsen national barter rankings.

Black clouds formed over Rysher’s “Thunder in Paradise.” The Hulk Hogan-starrer was body-slammed for a 34% loss, falling to a 3.5 from an impressive 5.3 in its two-hour debut.

Rysher’s “RoboCop,” which tumbled 22% last week from its two-hour premiere numbers, was a clinker again. It lost another 7% to 3.9.

Warner Bros.’ “Babylon 5,” down 6% in its previous mission, was alienated by a 7% drop to 4.1.

MCA TV’s “Universal Action Pack” wasn’t packin’ much ratings action either. After losing 7% of its audience a week ago, the series of rotating two-hour telepix dropped 7% more to 5.0.

Of the returning weeklies, Cannell’s “Cobra” was off 14% to a weak 3.0.

Among strongest weekly performers was Paramount’s “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” which soared 18%to a Vulcan mind-warping 11.3 rating.

And All American TV’s “Acapulco H.E.A.T.,” which got burnt by a 21% loss last week, recouped 15% of its audience with a stillchilly 3.0.

For the season to date, only three weekly series are averaging a 6 rating or better: Par’s two “Star Trek” series, with the soon-to-expire “TNG” leading with 11.3, “Deep Space Nine” with 8.4 and All American’s “Baywatch” with 6.0.

The lengthy mind-numbing pack of talkshows were generally strong during the week, with Tribune’s “Geraldo” showing the most improvement. It surged 18% to a 4.0.

King World’s “Oprah Winfrey,” reversing several weeks of losses, jumped 13% to 8.5. Multimedia’s “Donahue” (4.8) and Group W’s “Vicki!” (2.7) each gained 8 %.

Among the new talkers, KW’s “Rolonda” bounced back from its lowest rating ever the previous week to post a 16% gain to 2.2. Columbia’s “Ricki Lake,” which airs in many early fringe slots, was flat at 3.9. Twentieth TV’s “Bertice Berry” also was even for the week with 2.4.

The only talkshow to lose ground was WB’s “Jenny Jones,” which dropped 7% to 2.6.

Trib’s Joan Rivers show “Can We Shop?” inched up a notch to 0.8. Even with the added money the program provides stations via its retailing business, station execs are saying it won’t be around for long if it continues to bring in under a 1 rating.

Latenight heated up a bit, with Par’s “Arsenio” up 11% to 2.1. And Multimedia’s “Rush Limbaugh” set hearts afire with an 8% increase to 4.2.

Among magazines, Par’s “Entertainment Tonight,” which has been performing strongly lately, eased 5% to 8.4.

KW’s “Inside Edition” rose 12% to 7.3. Par’s “Hard Copy” gained 6% to 6.7, while Twentieth TV’s “A Current Affair” rose 5% to 6.2.

Even the newsmag rookie, KW’s “American Journal,” leapt 13% to 4.3.

Turning to off-net strips, Twentieth TV’s “Cops” (5.8) and Viacom’s “Roseanne” (8.1) each gained 5%.

And in the kidvid park, Fox Children’s Network non-syndicated hit “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” earned a 10.1 rating among kids 2-11, its second-highest rating ever in that key category. “Power Rangers” also dominated the older demographic, capturing the top position among “tweens” 6-17 for the 10th consecutive week.

Fox occupied the top five positions among animated shows, with Buena Vista TV’s “Disney Afternoon” entrant “Bonkers” leading the syndicated pack with a 4.7 in kids 2-11 and a 3.7 in tweens.

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